Can College Athletes Be Considered Employees? | GMTM

Can College Athletes Be Considered Employees?

ByAndrew Pistone

Published on Mon Nov 29 2021

|

2 min read

Can College Athletes Be Considered Employees?

There’s been a whirlwind of change surrounding the rights of college athletes that has taken place in 2021. The new name, image and likeness rules allow student-athletes to profit off of their individual brands and identities. This has opened the door for all kinds of partnerships, advertisements and larger conversations to be sought after to discuss what it truly means to be a student athlete these days. The definition has gotten even murkier in the past couple of weeks, with two large organizations disagreeing over whether a student-athlete should be considered an employee of the school.

The National Labor Relations Board(NLRB) sent out a memo at the end of September stating that student athletes should be viewed as employees.

“Players at academic institutions perform services for institutions in return for compensation and subject to their control. (We) fully support the conclusion that certain players at academic institutions are statutory employees, who have the right to act collectively to improve their terms and conditions of employment,” Jennifer Abruzzo, general counsel for the NLRB, composed. Via InsideHighered.com

This stance exists in stark contract to the NCAA’s take on their relationship with their players. The NCAA issued a statement on the topic themselves.

“College athletes are students who compete against other students, not employees who compete against other employees. Both academics and athletics are part of a total educational experience that is unique to the United States, and vital to the holistic development of all who participate.” Via CBSNews.com

How did this topic pick up steam in recent weeks? There was a lawsuit filed against the NCAA by several former athletes, led by former Villanova Wildcats defensive back Ralph “Trey” Johnson. Johnson and his co-plaintiffs assert that they should have been paid some sort of minimum wage by the NCAA, since he felt that their athletic commitments required them to follow a specific schedule, just like a traditional employer’s who could set their business hours as 9-5, for example.

They say you’re a student-athlete, but I think it’s really athlete-student,” Johnson expressed. “The game comes first.” Via Delco.today

The lawsuit was filed back in 2019, but within the past month and a half, there have been small victories for those on the plaintiff’s side. Federal judge John Padova rejected a motion by certain schools to dismiss the case, which can be viewed as a sympathetic response to Johnson’s case. In his order, Padova had several pieces of rationale supporting the need for further investigation.

“(Students) have reported that participation in NCAA sports have prevented them from taking classes that they wanted to take…(The NCAA) exercise significant control over their student athletes,” he wrote. Via Yahoo.com

This won’t be the last we’ll hear of this case, but it is even more interesting to view this in an era of NIL possibilities. Maybe this issue is less relevant now that players can benefit off of their NCAA athlete brands? Or, is it still extremely relevant because of the possible ramifications student-athletes can have to unionize, receive health care benefits, and a minimum wage? Regardless of which side you fall on, there will certainly be updates to this story in the coming months and years.

Are you an Athlete?

Create a free profile to access the largest network specifically designed to connect athletes to opportunities. Get started.

RELATED ARTICLES
Name, Image, & Likeness: NCAA Research Grant Program Recipients Named

Name, Image, & Likeness: NCAA Research Grant Program Recipients Named

The age-old saying “it takes one to know one” can be applied pretty accurately to many aspects of life. Whenever an individual can walk a mile in one’s shoes, they are more apt to understand the...

ByAndrew Pistone | Sun Jan 02 2022
NCAA Announces Division II Implementation Committee

NCAA Announces Division II Implementation Committee

In an effort to become more malleable across all of its bodies, the NCAA has spent considerable effort in the last several months trying to become more nimble in its decision making processes. One of...

ByAndrew Pistone | Thu Dec 30 2021
Sportico Launches College Athletics Financial Database

Sportico Launches College Athletics Financial Database

As the landscape surrounding dollars and cents in college athletics has been significantly impacted by changes to name, image and likeness rules, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a...

ByAndrew Pistone | Thu Jan 06 2022
What Percentage of High School Athletes Play Sports in College?

What Percentage of High School Athletes Play Sports in College?

This is a common question among high school students who are looking to better understand their chances of making it at the next level. There are a variety of resources available to assess the...

ByLogan Furey | Sun Jan 16 2022
College Basketball Scholarships: Four Unknown Truths Every Recruit Should Know

College Basketball Scholarships: Four Unknown Truths Every Recruit Should Know

For many people in the basketball community, a college basketball scholarship is held in the highest esteem. It’s the ultimate status symbol - a golden ticket to a promising future and new world of...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Sat Jan 15 2022